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Orkney, Isle of Skye & Loch Ness
An unforgettable journey to the far north and west of the Scottish Highlands and the region’s most famous islands, the Isle of Skye and Orkney. Dramatic mountain scenery and ancient archaeological sites are made all the more stunning by their remoteness. You will discover the unique culture of the Orkney islanders, hear traditional music and get the chance to enjoy the fantastic local seafood.
- FREE visit to a Highland whisky distillery
- Historic St Andrews, home of golf
- Orkney Islands’ 9,000 years of history
- Skara Brae Stone Age village
- Look out for dolphins and whales on the ferry trips
- Overnight on the banks of Loch Ness
- Stunning hikes through remote mountain terrain
- Party it up in the capital of the Highlands, Inverness
- Isle of Skye’s awe-inspiring scenery
- Plant a tree in the ‘HAGGiS Grove’
- Go monster spotting on a Loch Ness cruise
- Dance Scottish-style at a Highland Ceilidh
- Taste great fish and chips in Kirkwall
- Learn a ‘peedie’ bit of Orcadian dialect
- Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
- Transport on one of the famous yellow HAGGiS buses
- All ferry crossings
- Tree planting at the ‘HAGGiS Grove’ *weather permitting
- Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones
- Visit to the Italian Chapel
- FREE visit to a Highland whisky distillery
- FREE Lonely Planet guidebook
Day 1: Edinburgh to Inverness
Departs 8.30am. We leave our capital city and head north to the Highlands! First we pass the mighty Forth Bridge and make a stop at the quaint old town of St. Andrews where the game of golf was invented. Then, it’s off to the mountains through Perthshire and past the Cairngorms National Park. Time to sample a wee dram of Scotland’s favourite national drink at a Highland whisky distillery and see how this fine drop is made before we arrive at Inverness, Capital of the Highlands and our home for the night.
Day 2: Inverness to Orkney
We continue our journey north passing over the Moray Firth home to bottlenose dolphins and minke whales and on to the tip of the British mainland, John O'Groats. We board the ferry to sail over the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands, home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe. We visit the Tomb of the Eagles, a Stone Age chamber that was filled with thousands of human bones and the remains of sea eagles many millennia ago.
Day 3: Orkney
Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3,200BC and 2,200BC. This incredible stone village is made up of eight dwellings (some still containing original furniture) linked together by a series of low alleyways and is a marvel of ancient building techniques. Then we visit the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the Italian Chapel built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War.
Day 4: Orkney to Loch Ness
We bid Orkney farewell and make the ferry crossing back to the mainland and a journey south through Scotland’s rugged terrain. We travel through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances. Our journey takes us past the ruins of Urquhart Castle before arriving at Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness.
Day 5: Isle of Skye
Today we visit HAGGiS Grove (weather permitting) to help restore our native forest. Then passing Eilean Donan Castle we head on to explore the Isle of Skye, also known as the ‘winged isle’ or ‘Isle of Mist’ with its ruined castles, awesome scenery and home to the legendary MacLeod and MacDonald Clans. Immersed in Celtic myths and Viking legends, hear tales abound with faeries and fights, we explore the windswept landscape and brooding Red and Black Cuillin Mountain ranges.
Day 6: Skye to Oban
We return to the mainland and head for Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie began his claim for the throne of Scotland and view the spectacular steam train viaduct featured in the Harry Potter film. We take to the hills for the chance to hike in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Oban, known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ because of its spectacular views over to Mull, is home for the night and this is your chance for a proper Highland Fling with some traditional ceilidh dancing!
Day 7: Oban to Edinburgh
We head for eerie Glencoe, some Scotland’s most iconic scenery and setting of the infamous 1692 massacre but more recently a backdrop in the movie ‘Skyfall’. Further south we enter Rob Roy country where the landscape changes from the Highlands to the Lowlands. Our journey back to Edinburgh takes in views of magnificent Stirling Castle and the mighty Wallace Monument. Returns approximately 5.00pm.